with Clint Panzerdivision
Home Defence UK
A Symptom of a Greater Malaise
The F.A. Cup Final
Dateline - May 2003

So, the Football Association Cup Final.  Gleaming jewel in the crown of the 
English football season.  Ultimate battle of the Premier League.  Arsenal and 
Southampton, head to head, fighting for honour, glory and the supremacy of the field.  The big one, the decider
- The Match.

Played about two weeks ago, right?  Which is sort of why this report ran into trouble.  You see, I didn't
actually get round to watching the thing until yesterday and, well... here's what happened.

The match, or at least my video tape of it, begins nine minutes and twenty seconds in, with Southampton's
blond goalkeeper hoofing the ball up the pitch.  The score's still 0-0 at this point, so I might have got away with
it, but then the picture goes fuzzy and suddenly it's 12.30am in the Big Brother house.

A ginger-haired girl is talking about her boyfriend who is, apparently, a really nice bloke - so nice, in fact, that
it makes the girl with the long brown hair want to cry, so ginger hair gives her a hug.  Cut to 3.32 in the boys'
bedroom and a fat guy gets up to take a piss.  Another guy hilariously gets into his bed.  When fat guy gets back there is much laughter, and fat guy jocularly calls other guy a fucking bastard.

It's brilliant.  Really.  But it's not football, and since I haven't been watching Big Brother this year I'm not sure what's gone wrong.  I fast forward through the adverts to enlightenment - award-winning HBO drama 'Six Feet Under', currently showing on Channel 4 on Sunday nights, but clashing with '24' on BBC 2.  So I've taped it.  Over the F.A. Cup Final.  Bugger.

Hey ho.  Win some, lose some.  As I may have previously mentioned, I don't like football all that much and it's really an excellent show.  If you don't already watch, 'Six Feet Under' is based around a family-owned funeral parlour in L.A. and is notable for its deadpan humour and unsentimental depiction of family relationships mired in bewilderment, secrecy, irritation and embarassment.  TV critics overuse the word "dysfunctional" - I prefer "realistic".

The episode I've taped, 'In The Game', was the first of the second series.  Highlights include David's lunch with excruciatingly loved-up ex-boyfriend Keith and new partner, cutting away to a naked David as Mr White Ass Cracker at the imagined Mr Gay Black America contest; Nate inadvertently fulfilling his own prophecy of family dinner - "it's bound to be a freakfest" - by showing up on Ecstacy; and, my personal favourite, the tactless doctor giving Nate the results of his MRI scan:
"Are you left-handed?"
"That's not good."

This week's sudden death is a young actress, who overdoses at the premiere party for the fantastically titled horror movie 'Whack Job'.

After the programme finishes there's a five minute update from Big Brother, featuring two housemates on some sort of exercise pedalos.  Everyone's wildly annoying and shrill, so I fast forward that and then, as suddenly as it disappeared, the football's back - hurrah!

In the eightieth minute the score's 1-0 to Arsenal.  Thierry Henry takes a shot but it's saved by the Southampton goalkeeper, who doesn't seem to be blond any more.  Go figure.  Bit more kicky-kick then Southampton's Ormerod takes a crack, but Seaman saves it.

Eighty-sixth minute: Baird comes off for Fernandes who, interestingly enough, is playing on the right hand side of the pitch, despite being left handed.  

The excitement continues into injury time as Southampton's Svensson receives a yellow card for a dodgy challenge.  "For fuck's sake, what the fuck's that?" he remarks, perturbed.

Southampton's Beattie nearly pulls back a last minute goal with a header, but it's cleared by Cole, and Arsenal fuck around until the final whistle.  Arsenal take the Football Association Cup for the second year running, being the first team to do so since Tottenham in 1982.  It's the ninth time they've won and the sixteenth final they've played in.  That doesn't really make up for the rest of this report, does it?  Oh well, fuck it.

Final score: Arsenal 1 (which I missed), Southampton 0.

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